How to Build a Low-Cost DIY Solar Panel to Power Your Electronics and Save Money


Building your own solar panel can be a fun and rewarding project that also saves you money on electricity bills. With some basic materials and tools, I was able to build a simple solar panel to power small electronics like my phone, laptop and lights. In this guide, I will walk you step-by-step through the process of building a low-cost DIY solar panel.

Benefits of Building Your Own Solar Panel

There are a few key benefits to building your own solar panel instead of buying a pre-made one:

Building a small solar panel is also a relatively easy project for beginners with basic skills.

How a Solar Panel Works

Before we get into the DIY build, let's do a quick overview of how a solar panel works:

Wiring the cells together properly is key to making a working panel.

Materials and Tools Needed

For my 50W solar panel project, I used the following materials:

Solar Cells

You'll need higher rated cells for more power output.

Other Materials


Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these step-by-step instructions to build your own solar panel:

1. Design and Layout

First, plan the design and layout of your solar cells. Important factors:

I used 12 cells in series for a 12V output, and 3 strings in parallel for 50W.

2. Prepare the Cells

Clean the cells so they are free of dust, oils and fingerprints. The glass is fragile so be gentle.

Solder thin connecting wires (bus wire) to the positive and negative sides of each cell. Make sure you note polarity!

3. Laminate the Solar Cells

Now we will 'laminate' the cells between the EVA plastic and Tedlar backing layer:

  1. Lay down the Tedlar sheet on your work surface.

  2. Arrange the wired solar cells with proper spacing.

  3. Lay the EVA sheet over the top and heat activate it with a heat gun to seal the layers.

  4. Flip over and repeat on the glass side with another EVA sheet.

  5. Clamp together until it cools and seals.

4. Wire the Cells Together

Follow your layout diagram to solder the cells together in series and parallel. Make sure connections are secure and insulated.

5. Add the Junction Box

Attach a junction box to one corner. Wire the strings of panels into the box inputs. This allows easy connecting of cables.

6. Frame and Seal

Cut plexiglass boards to size and assemble into a frame. Glue in place with silicone and let dry completely before using.

Add silicone sealant around all edges to protect from weather.

7. Test and Use Your Solar Panel

Attach panel wires to your load or charging controller and test it works properly before mounting.

Now you can use your DIY solar panel to generate free electricity from the sun!

Tips for Maximizing Efficiency

To get the most out of your home-built solar panel:


Building your own solar panel takes some time and effort, but it can save you money while also being very rewarding. With this guide, you should have a good understanding of the DIY solar panel process. Start small and simple your first time, then expand from there. Happy solar power generating!